How to build a pitch deck that will get you funding

It can be tempting when creating a pitch deck to tell a potential investor every… single… statistic you have about your company finances. Research shows that 23% of a pitch session is spent on the financial slides. Because so much of the focus is on the financial return from an investment, it’s easy to get sucked into a dry presentation of the details of your company’s current financials.

That’s not going to get you funding.

Don’t misunderstand, a detailed understanding of your company’s inner workings is essential to success, but telling an emotionally resonant story is likely to get you much farther in a pitch session than presenting a market watch-like report packed with graphs, numbers, and stats.

So what does a successful pitch deck look like?

There are elements that you have to include such as:

Your Company Statement: this should be short sweet and to the point: “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” the rule of 5 is to explain it to me like I’m 5 years old (steer clear of vague value props and industry jargon here).

The Problem: Again, keep this practical and avoid long, wordy slides. Remember the people you pitch to are also… people. “You want to feel at home, even when you’re away from home.”

The Market Share: How much can the investor expect to make is largely dependent on the size of the market and market saturation. “The US alone has 44+ million travelers per year.”

The Solution: So what are you going to do about it? This is where you get to shine! *cue the Rocky theme music.

Competition: Who else is out there, what market share do they control?

Traction (or Validation): If you’ve got some traction that’s a great element to add (many successful decks include this in the Business overview). If you don’t have traction yet, what validation have you gotten that your idea is worth the time you’re putting into it?

Strategy: What startup business model are you using, what’s your plan, and how will you get there if they invest? You do the thinking, they do the funding; don’t ask them to do your job.

The Ask: Know what you want, and ask for it. If you’re clear on your structure, goals, and potential, the number will be obvious, don’t beat around the bush or ask them to come up with this figure.

Conclusion: Drive it home! This is the cherry on top; the bow on the present. With all the above information, here’s the upside, the vision, let them feel what it will feel like when you win together.

Building the kind of pitch deck that is appealing while being clear that you have the structure, discipline, and stick-to-itiveness to carry the venture through takes time and effort. Start with an ideation session. Bring together your most creative and most analytical minds in one room, and start to build the scaffold of your message. If you only invite the creatives, you may miss important data that validates your concept. If you only bring the stats team, you may miss the big picture storytelling aspect (and it may come out aesthetically unappealing **ugly**).

Take inspiration from successful pitch decks:

Some great examples can be found on Slideshare for companies such as Square, Airbnb, Mint and more

Practice, Practice Practice…

You don’t do this every day so you’re going to need practice. Run through your pitch deck until you feel like you’ll die if you go through it one more time. And then do it one more time. The actor Anthony Hopkins says he reads a script 100 times before showing up on set. If he can do it, you can too!

As you rehearse your pitch you’ll find sticking points, areas you’ve overlooked. Go back to the drawing board and work those kinks out. As long as this process is, it’s worth it when you don’t have to sit in the uncomfortable space of having an investor point out gaps to you in the pitch session.

Listen to Feedback

Feedback is essential, so ask for it. Ask your Rotary Club if you can present to the group, talk to your PRoVisors, EO, YPO, or other leadership forum if you can pitch them, and then take anonymous feedback and address the concerns without ego. Of course, your company is your baby, but you have to be able to hear about weaknesses from allies before you present to potential investors.

Bring in the Pros

The truth is, you may do this once or twice in a career – there are professionals who will collaborate with you to bring to bear their years of experience to make you better, faster. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. At GrowthPath Partners, that’s what we do; we bring years of experience to the table to help you build the kind of pitch that supports investment in your company.